Atlantic, High Atlas, and Sahara

From $1,149 PPDO | 6 days / 5 nights | Contact us for customization.

6 days / 5 nights

You depart the Marrakech in the morning and head west, toward the Atlantic Ocean.  You’ll see the vegetation change from desert to Argan trees.  Essaouira frames the Atlantic Ocean with magnificent 16th century Portuguese fortresses.  Along the coastline, thousands of jagged black rocks cut through sprays of ocean foam.  The aroma of the sea fills the air and hundreds of seagulls swirl over the water.   The medina, or old city, is made up of a labyrinth of alleyways too small for cars with whitewashed houses, shops, and art galleries dotted throughout.    Whether you choose to stroll along the ocean and explore the medina or  try out local surfing, you will find Essaouira to be an unforgettable encounter.

After breakfast, you depart Essaouira and head south along the coast toward Agadir.  Along the way the rocky Atlantic coast will be in constant view and you may even glimpse a few lighthouses.   If desired, you can stop at an argan oil women’s cooperative.  Argan oil is indigenous only to Morocco and is reputed for its culinary and cosmetic uses.   Later on, you will leave the coastline and travel east through the Sous Valley to Taroudant, a market town lying in the shadows of the High Atlas Mountains.

Locals know the walled Berber market town of Taroudant as the “Grandmother of Marrakech,” due to the similarity of its ramparts and mud-red walls to those of the famous Red City.   It is well known for its souks, the majority of which are located inside the city walls.  Upon climbing the walls you will be greeted by a beautiful panoramic view of the city while the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains form a backdrop.  The night will be spent at a nearby riad nestled among groves of almonds, olives, bananas, and oranges.

After breakfast, you will leave Taroudant driving through the Sous Valley. Along the way, you may see goats climbing the argan trees in search of nuts.  You may stop at the Saffron Cooperative in the town of Taliouine, the heart of Morocco’s Saffron Valley.   The small town produces over 7,000 pounds of saffron each year.   Soon after passing through Taliouine, you will enter the town of Taznakht, the capital of Berber carpets.   Later during the day, you can choose to visit the set from the movie, The Hills Have Eyes.   By the afternoon, you will arrive at Kasbah Ait ben Haddou.  The kasbah is a registered UNESCO World Heritage site, located on the southern slopes of the High Atlas.  You will have time to leisurely explore the Kasbah.  The night will be spent nearby the famous kasbah.

In the morning, you will drive through nearby Ouarzazate, known as the Moroccan Hollywood for the numerous movies filmed in the city.   You will then drive through Skoura, a fertile oasis lined with palm groves, olive trees, and the ruins of kasbahs that date back to the 12th century.   Following the Skoura Valley, you’ll enter the Valley of the Roses.    If you happen to be in the area the first weekend of May, you will experience the annual Rose Festival.  From Skoura, you enter the Dades Valley where you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery of the south.  You’ll have lunch in the Dades Gorges and slowly make your way to the nearby Todgha Gorges where you will stay for the night.

There will be time for breakfast and a stroll through the gorges in the morning.  Afterwards, you will drive back through the Todra valley, through the small towns of Tinghir and Tinjdad and into Erfoud.  Erfoud is the International Capital of Fossils as well as a filming site for the movies The Mummy and King of Persia.  Each year in October the city hosts the national Date Festival.  After spending some time in the city known as the “Gate to the Sahara Desert,” you will continue your journey off-road to the impressive Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes.  In a short time, you will arrive at the camp in time to board camels for a leisurely jaunt to the dunes where you will watch the sun sink below the horizon.  Your night will be spent under the stars in a nomad tent.

After breakfast you will spend a brief time on the magnificent dunes.  Afterwards, you will depart Merzouga and make your way to the town of Midelt.  Along the way, you will pass through the Ziz Valley, one of the longest valleys in Morocco.  Flocks of sheep and goats will be grazing alongside the road and up into the hillsides.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see the Berber shepherds watching over them.  As you inch your way up and into the High Atlas Mountains, you may be surprised to see an abrupt change in scenery.  As you pass through the N’Talghemt Pass (1,907 m / 6, 256 ft), there will be ample opportunities for photos.  Later in the day, you will reach the town of Midelt that lies on the high plains flanked by the Middle Atlas and the High Atlas Mountains.

Upon leaving Midelt, you will crisscross the Middle Atlas Mountains where you may catch a glimpse of Barbary Macaques in a shadowy cedar forest.  The Barbary Macaque, an Old World Monkey Species,  is found chiefly in the Atlas and Rif Mountains of Morocco and Algeria.  It is near the forest that you will enter the city of Ifrane, home of the world famous Al Akhawayn University.  In summer, Ifrane is a cool respite from the heat.  During the winter months,is known for beautiful snow and amazing skiing adventures.  Nearby Ifrane, you may visit Lake Ifrah or Lake Aaoua; both are havens for wildlife, especially birds.  After lunch, you will continue your journey toward Fes.  You will reach Fes in the late afternoon or early evening.

What’s Included in Tour

Tour Highlights

  • Experienced Local Moroccan Host

    Fluent in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and local dialects

  • Private 4x4 Transport

    Spacious, fully-equipped, driver & fuel

  • Handpicked Accommodations: Standard, Comfort, or Luxury

    Ranked by us, based on guest satisfaction and feedback overtime

  • Meals

    All breakfasts included. Dinners included where indicated.

  • Airport Transfers

  • Camel Trek

  • Sahara Desert Camp - Comfort or Luxury

  • Private Guided Tour of the Fes Medina

  • Local Encounters

Casablanca, Morocco; Hassan the II, Mosque

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Standard Accommodations

$ High Standard Accommodations Characterized by Stylish and Quality Décor

  • 1 person from $ 1725
  • 2 persons from $ 1050
  • 3 persons from $ 825
  • 4 persons from $ 720
  • 5 persons from $ 645
  • 6 persons from $ 600
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Customized Private Morocco Tours

TBD Create Your Own Private Morocco Adventure

  • Alter tour origination city
  • Alter tour destination city
  • Mix and match tour locations
  • Large Groups
  • Photography Tours
  • Day Excursions
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All pricing is per person and based on double occupancy

Children 0-2 are free / Children 2-12 are 50% reduction of adult fee

* Drinks and tips are not included

These prices are liable to fluctuation according to current exchange rates and customizations

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Nancy LauerAtlantic, High Atlas, and Sahara